If a taste of Kona coffee is what you’re looking for, keep reading, as we’ve listed some of the best Kona coffee brands from Hawaii to try before you purchase.
Kona coffee is one of the most sought-after coffees in the world. Before I first learned about Kona coffee a few years ago, I thought it was a specific brand of coffee, not a place where premium coffee beans are grown.
Kona coffee is Arabica coffee grown, harvested, and processed on the west side of the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a scarce coffee and accounts for only one percent of the world’s coffee supply. For this reason, it is undoubtedly one of the most sought-after coffees in the world.
In this article, we have reviewed and listed the twelve best Kona coffee brands from Hawaii in 2022 after many hours of testing. Without further ado, let’s dig into our top choices for the best-tasting Kona coffee beans available on the market.
- How Do I Choose Kona Coffee?
- What Are The Benefits Of Kona Coffee?
- What Is The Best Way To Make Kona Coffee?
- 1. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those With Expensive Taste
- 2. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those With Strong Taste
- 3. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Prefer Fruity Flavors
- 4. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Peaberry Fans
- 5. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Variety
- 6. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Like Bitter Coffee
- 7. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Fans Of Darker Roasts
- 8. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Searching For A Twist
- 9. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Light Roast Lovers
- 10. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Fancy A Change
- 11. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Value The Simple Things
- 12. The Best Kona Coffee For Those On A Budget
How Do I Choose Kona Coffee?
Unfortunately, it can be hard to pick Kona coffee because there are a lot of fakers out there. You might purchase what appears to be real Kona coffee, only to discover when you get home that there’s actually no Kona coffee in the product at all!
Be wary of “Kona-inspired,” “Kona blend,” “Kona-roast,” or “Hawaii-inspired” blends. Some of these could contain no Kona coffee at all, while others may contain a little Kona coffee but are mostly a blend of coffee sourced elsewhere. If you can’t afford the real deal, then blends are a great choice, but only when it’s clear that’s what is being offered.
Always read the label thoroughly, and choose coffee labeled “100% Kona” if you want the full experience. Most authentic brands will have a seal of approval on the packaging that you cannot miss. Since Kona coffee is only grown in Hawaii’s Kona districts, like Hualalai and Mauna Loa, real Kona coffee is single-origin.
Most of the coffee trees in Hawaii are Kona Typica trees. Kona coffee is always Arabica coffee, so the presence of Robusta beans suggests it’s not 100% Kona coffee.
Next, you’ll want beans that are good quality; try to opt for Estate-grown, specialty-grade coffee. It’s also worth getting Direct Trade for the assurance that the farmers are paid fairly, without the need for a middleman. After that, whether you like pre-ground coffee, K-cups, or a lighter roast is up to you.
What Are The Benefits Of Kona Coffee?
When drinking Kona coffee, you still reap all the benefits we know and love about coffee, like increased concentration and alertness. Kona coffee may also contain a little more caffeine than many other commercial Arabica coffee brands, thanks to the special growing conditions. So, it will have you feeling wide awake in the morning.
Kona coffee is grown in nutrient-dense, rich volcanic soil. Some of these nutrients make their way into your cup, providing you with a good dose of antioxidants every time you brew a cup of Joe. Antioxidants are compounds that fight free radical damage, which can increase the risk of certain illnesses and diseases, as well as premature aging.
What Is The Best Way To Make Kona Coffee?
As a rare, single-origin specialty coffee, you want to choose a brewing method that thoroughly captures the flavor of Kona coffee. It’s full-bodied yet mild.
For that reason, the best way to make Kona coffee is by using slow-brewing methods, like Chemex or pour-over, as this allows all the properties to be extracted and represented in your cup. Kona coffee is still quite good when brewed in a French press. Due to its rich flavor, it also makes a delicious cold brew.
You can add a splash of milk, but sweeteners might distract from the notes coffee lovers adore about authentic Kona coffee. It’s also advised to buy whole-bean coffee and grind it right before brewing for optimal freshness. Use a quality burr grinder to ensure the grounds are even. Since Kona coffee is so expensive, you at least want to do it justice.
1. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those With Expensive Taste
As the name suggests, Volcanica Hawaiian Extra Fancy Kona Coffee focuses on coffees cultivated on volcanic soils, which means that they mainly sell coffee grown at high elevations. Volcanica coffee roasts exclusively on demand, ensuring that your coffee will be as fresh as possible. They provide high-quality coffee and great customer service — that’s why they are at the top of our list of the best Kona coffee brands.
Volcanica Hawaiian Extra Fancy Kona Coffee is one of the best Kona coffee beans out there, not to mention that it’s the best grade of Kona coffee beans. Even though it’s a little pricey, you’re getting the purest and best 100% Kona Coffee available.
Volcanica coffee may not be based in Hawaii, but they’re known for sourcing coffee from the best coffee-growing regions around the world. So, they have a tried and true reputation. All the coffee beans for this coffee come from Aloha Farms, and this coffee is also State of Hawaii Certified and Kosher Certified.
Volcanica Hawaiian Extra Fancy Kona Coffee is very flavorful and full-bodied with a floral-fruity taste — bright citrus, caramel, jasmine, and tart cherries are some of its flavor notes. It is a delicious coffee that is low in acid (with a pH of 5.2), and every bag of it comes in a premium blue velvet bag.
You might also enjoy our round-up of the best Colombian coffee brands.
- Hawaiian Kona Coffee Extra Fancy
- 100% Pure
- Fresh Roasted
2. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those With Strong Taste
Here is another great coffee manufactured by Volcanica — the Kona Peaberry Coffee. Only 5% of the crop produces peaberry, making it the most exclusive of all Kona coffee beans.
Coffee connoisseurs consider it the champagne of Kona coffee, renowned for its smooth, full flavor and low acid content. The flavor in these small coffee beans is more concentrated; that’s why the Kona flavor jumps right out at you!
Volcanica Kona Peaberry Coffee also comes from Aloha Farms, but it only consists of peaberries. Peaberries are a natural mutation when a cherry develops only one seed instead of two. Coffee connoisseurs prize these coffee beans for their richer flavor.
In March 2006, Food and Wine Magazine named this coffee one of the “Top 10 Coffees.” Thanks to strict quality controls, this coffee is exactly as delicious and satisfying today as it was back then.
The coffee beans for Volcanica Kona Peaberry Coffee are washed and sun-dried, yielding a smooth, nutty, and delicious brew. Not only that, but this coffee is also low in acid (with a pH of 5.2), and every bag of it also comes in a premium blue velvet bag.
- Kona Peaberry Coffee
- 100% Pure
- Gran Reserve
- Whole Bean
- Fresh Roasted
3. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Prefer Fruity Flavors
Hawaii Coffee Company is a well-known brand in Hawaii, serving as the parent company of many popular Hawaiian coffee brands that distribute high-quality coffee and tea. The Royal Kona Coffee brand joined the lineup in 1969 — the founders promised the Hawaiian coffee growers to purchase 100% of their coffee crop.
They proclaim themselves the world’s largest roaster of Kona coffee. Given the limited supply of pure Kona coffee, this is quite an achievement.
These pure Kona beans are cultivated right in the Kona region — only the best coffee beans are chosen to be packaged and delivered to you to make a gourmet cup of coffee. The fruity and clear flavor of the Royal Kona coffee set it apart from the other brands mentioned on this list.
So, if you like medium-light roasts, this is a terrific way to branch out and try something new. You can use this fresh whole-bean Kona coffee from Royal Kona to make a cup of French Press or drip coffee.
You might find our guide on how to make French press coffee useful.
Overall, Royal Kona is one of the well-established Hawaiian coffee brands specializing in Kona. In addition to high-quality coffee, they also have excellent customer service, which is always a plus in any industry.
4. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Peaberry Fans
In 1977, Koa Coffee started as a small family business that focused only on 100% Kona coffee beans. Since then, they continued to grow their business until they could provide some other Hawaiian varieties.
Koa Coffee has received multiple awards and recognitions and is considered one of the best Kona coffee brands available today. Forbes rated it as the “Top 10 Coffees of the World” and “Best Coffee in America.”
Koa Coffee’s coffee cherries are hand-picked except for the green cherries on the plant, as they are left to ripen fully. This product is made from 100% Kona coffee peaberries — as mentioned earlier, peaberries are mutations of regular coffee cherries.
Kona coffee is already rare, and the Kona peaberry accounts for just around 5% of the Kona harvest. As a result, the demand significantly outnumbers the supply for this type of coffee. This particular Koa Coffee product is usually sold out. So, if you want to drink this brew regularly, consider signing up for a subscription.
Koa Coffee Peaberry is available in medium roast and dark roast. The medium roast has a smoother and sweeter flavor compared to regular Kona coffee. Not only that, but this coffee has a full-bodied, rich flavor in the cup.
5. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Variety
As mentioned earlier, Koa Coffee Company built a good reputation for Kona coffee, making them one of the best Kona coffee beans producers. Aside from the Koa Coffee Peaberry, let me introduce another of their finest creations — the Koa Coffee Kona Tri-Pack.
Koa Coffee Kona Tri-Pack includes three different coffee beans: Estate Kona, Grande Domaine Kona, and Private Reserve Kona. It is a good way to get to know different Kona coffee beans. Since this product includes three packs of Kona coffee, you get to save a little money.
Most Kona coffee beans are cultivated at a lower altitude; however, the Estate Kona is grown at a high altitude on the slopes of the Mauna Loa Volcano. It is a single-estate coffee with a classic Kona flavor. In the tri-pack, it is available in medium roast whole bean, but you can also buy a dark roast whole bean or a medium roast pre-ground separately.
The Grande Domaine Kona coffee has won a Coffee Cupping Contest for its remarkable quality and balance. It is available in a Vienna roast, translating to a light-medium roast, which maximizes the distinct qualities of Kona coffee beans. In the tri-pack, it is available in the whole bean, but you can also buy a pre-ground coffee separately.
Forbes named the Private Reserve Kona the “Best in America.” It is a one-of-a-kind mix made of 100% Kona coffee beans. Like the Estate Kona, it is available in medium roast whole coffee beans, but you can also buy a dark roast whole bean or a medium roast pre-ground separately.
6. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Like Bitter Coffee
The new AVPA International award-winning gourmet coffee from Kona Kulana Farms is the best way to start your day right! It is the first two-time winner of the Gevalia Kona Cupping Classic Competition that is recognized worldwide for its quality and fantastic taste. This single-estate Kona coffee is low in acid, making its taste balanced and smooth and emphasizing the natural flavors of Kona coffee beans.
Kona Kulana Coffee features hints of brown sugar, cinnamon spice, and a special lavender aroma that captivates the senses. From start to finish, the drinking experience is extremely enjoyable. However, there are two notable exceptions — the aftertaste can be somewhat bitter, and it is also more acidic than some of the other coffees on this list.
- Whole Bean Dark Roast
- 100% Estate Grown Kona
- Single Origin
- Whole Bean Coffee
- Freshly Roasted
- 16 Ounce
7. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Fans Of Darker Roasts
The list of the best Kona coffee brands from Hawaii is not complete without mentioning Blue Horse Coffee. The flavors of the Kona coffee beans made by this company are as dark and vibrant as their packaging, which shows an aggressive blue horse against a red and black background. Just like the Volcanica brand, Blue Horse also had its single-origin family estate Kona coffee beans certified by the government to ensure its authenticity to the buyers.
Blue Horse Kona coffee beans are carefully hand-picked and sundried. Like other Kona coffee brands, Blue Horse Kona coffee is grown free from herbicides and pesticides. The result is a batch of pure Kona coffee beans that is dark (a little darker compared to your typical medium profile) and a bit oily.
So, you’ll have to keep an eye on your coffee grinder and coffee machine to ensure the oil doesn’t build up. Learn more in our explainer on will oily coffee beans clog a coffee grinder.
You can indulge in a gourmet coffee experience with Blue Horse Kona coffee’s rich flavor and intense aroma, along with the bittersweet chocolaty undertone and hints of caramel and spices.
You might also enjoy our guide on the Top 5 Arabica Coffee Brands To Try: The Ultimate Guide.
- Medium Roast
- Arabica Whole Beans
- 1 Lb or 16 oz Bag
- 100% Kona Coffee from Hawaii
8. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Searching For A Twist
Kona Joe Coffee is grown with the principles of a good glass of wine in mind. This coffee is grown on a trellis system, meaning the beans are grown along a wire, exposing them to more sunlight to produce a unique, sweet flavor profile. It’s essentially the opposite of shade-grown coffee; these Kona beans are known as sun-ripened coffee.
Kona Joe Coffee is typically medium roasted to preserve the unique flavors, but they do offer other roasts like dark roasts. The brand also considers its customer’s own preferences and limitations. Rather than just offering whole beans and ground, they have different grinds available, like fine espresso grounds or coarse French press grounds, to ensure you brew the best cup of coffee possible based on your preferred brewing method.
9. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Light Roast Lovers
Most Kona coffee is medium roast or dark roast, but there’s no reason you need to avoid lighter roast altogether. One of the top picks for a lighter Kona coffee is Mountain Thunder Coffee Plantation’s American roast. Light roast is already best suited for slow-brewing methods like pour-over or drip coffee, so a light Kona coffee is a match made in heaven.
Light roasts are notoriously acidic, which is why those with a sensitive stomach avoid them. With that said, Kona coffee manages to produce a smoother cup of coffee with lower acidity.
The coffee is grown on a slope of a volcano in Hualalai, which influences the decadent flavor. The beans are carefully hand-picked to ensure you only get the best in your cup. If you have any doubts about the quality, they’re happy to give visitors a tour of the farm so they can see the whole process for themselves.
10. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Fancy A Change
You might love Kona coffee but also fancy a change. That’s where Lion Coffee comes in. While they offer pure, luxury Kona coffee, you can also find convenient K-cups and flavored brews like coconut and hazelnut. While other flavored coffees can taste sickly sweet, burnt, or not at all like the flavor intended, Lion coffee is highly rated.
Lion has been in business since 1864, so you know they have mastered the craft. While they originally set up shop in Ohio, they moved to Honolulu in 1979. This authentic Kona coffee was hand-picked to ensure only the best beans are selected. They offer 100% Kona coffee and 10% Kona coffee for those who want to try Kona coffee without breaking the bank.
ASIN : B088J7NS41
11. The Best Kona Coffee Brand For Those Who Value The Simple Things
If you’re not a coffee snob, then terms like peaberry, single-origin, or sundried, won’t mean much to you. Sometimes you just want a no-fuss cup of coffee. But, that no-fuss cup of coffee should still be good-tasting Joe.
If that’s the case, then the Landor Coffee Company is for you. This Kona coffee is a straightforward medium roast with a smooth flavor and enticing aroma. It’s a little on the milder side, so it’s great for those who are averse to strong flavors. It’s a simple but delicious cup of Kona coffee.
ASIN : B07TLD2CRY
12. The Best Kona Coffee For Those On A Budget
Kona coffee is so expensive because it’s one of the rarest coffees in the world, grown only in the Kona coffee belt. So, it’s a real treat to be able to get your hands on some, but not everyone can afford it. This is why coffee blends containing Kona coffee are not the end of the world, as long as they’re transparent about it.
Kauai Coffee offers a 10% Kona blend. This medium roast is made from Arabica beans, so while it won’t taste exactly like the real deal, it is not going to be too far off. This coffee has light floral notes and a punchy brightness to perk you up.
Kauai Coffee also offers K-cups and fun flavors, such as Mocha Macadamia Nut and Coconut Caramel Crunch, to change things up. You can experience a little bit of Hawaii without the price tag.
ASIN : B00AD60574